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Happy anniversary

Hirtle Callaghan celebrates 30 years as an OCIO shop

Jonathan J. Hirtle said the firm began in a windowless ‘cube.’

Updated with correction

Hirtle, Callaghan & Co. LLC has come a long way from its humble beginnings during its first 30 years of providing outsourced chief investment officer services.

Co-founders Jonathan J. Hirtle, executive chairman, and Donald E. Callaghan (retired) left Goldman Sachs Group (GS) Inc., where they had advised wealthy families and institutions, to manage OCIO portfolios conflict-free by investing through external managers.

The firm was launched on June 22, 1988, supported by a joint venture with SEI Corp. as SEI Wealth Management.

Mr. Hirtle said he and his wife, Debby, Mr. Callaghan and a secretary ran the fledgling firm from a tiny, windowless "cube" in SEI's Wayne, Pa., headquarters.

"We had to call someone else in the building who worked where there were windows to find out if it was raining," he quipped.

The joint venture was dissolved in 1993 and Hirtle, Callaghan & Co. set up shop in West Conshohocken, Pa.

Twenty-five years later, 98 employees located in the headquarters and seven other U.S. offices manage a total of $22 billion of outsourced assets for 350 clients.

Wealthy families still represent the largest client group for Hirtle Callaghan, but endowments and foundations have become an important part of the client base, primarily through referrals by family groups, Mr. Hirtle said.

The firm celebrated its first three decades by throwing a party in January for 300 people in Scottsdale, Ariz. Hirtle Callaghan's entire staff was in attendance, along with clients. Special recognition was given to clients who have invested with the firm for more than 20 years.

Mr. Hirtle said smaller celebrations — "recommitments with our investors" — will continue throughout the rest of the year.